What Is Samsung QLED?

Get answers for all of your QLED questions.

QLED TV Andres Jasso / Unsplash

Last Updated: September 10, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

What Is Samsung QLED?

Section Link

QLED stands for Quantum dot LED TV. In a QLED display, a quantum dot layer/film is added to the LED backlight panel. The quantum dot film absorbs light and then emits stable color ranges, which allow for creating a broader and more precise spectrum of colors.

As with other LED TVs (TR), QLED displays project the backlight through a liquid crystal display (LCD).

QLED is a variation of an LED TV that improves color volume and brightness, among other benefits compared to other display types.

QLED vs. LCD Displays QLED vs. LCD Displays Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Color of Light Depends on Size of Quantum Dot Color of Light Depends on Size of Quantum Dot Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Types of TVs

Section Link

QLED (TR)

Price: $$

For Those Who Want: The best colors and don't want to worry about screen burn-in.

Description: QLEDs (quantum dot light-emitting diode) use LEDs that light up LCD panels. Between the two layers is a quantum dot layer that filters the light to produce more saturated and pure colors. TVs made with quantum dots are termed QLED by Samsung, TLC, Vizio, and Hisense.

OLED (TR)

Price: $$$

For Those Who Want: Watching in large groups, benefiting from the wide viewing angle. Not made for those who'll watch static scenes like a PC monitor due to screen burn-in.

Description: OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs have pixels that can individually adjust the brightness, allowing for darker black levels. OLED TVs have excellent picture quality and wide viewing angles.

LED (TR)

Price: $

For Those Who Want: The best value with the best range in sizes.

Description: LED (light-emitting diode) is a widely used technology for lighting up an LCD panel. Most LED TVs have a reasonable contrast ratio, high brightness, and narrow viewing angles.

Neo QLED

Price: $$$$

For Those Who Want: The great colors of QLED but with better contrast, larger screen size, and higher resolution options (8K).

Description: A mix of QLED and Mini LED, allowing a better contrast ratio. These TVs use the Mini LED backlight array to more precisely show bright scenes with dark objects without washing out the darker parts (halo effect).

MicroLED

Price: $$$$$

For Those Who Want: The benefits of OLED without the chance of screen burn-in.

Description: Similar to OLED, with self-emitting light, but doesn't suffer from burn-in. The smallest version of LED lights.

NanoCell

Price: $$

For Those Who Want: A less costly alternative to QLED and OLED and better than LED/LCD.

Description: Increased image quality compared to LED. Lower contrast than QLED or OLED. Wide viewing angles.

Mini LED

Price: $$$$

For Those Who Want: Good contrast ratio.

Description: Mini LED refers to the backlight array that more precisely shows bright scenes with dark objects without washing out the darker parts (blooming/halo effect). Mini LED displays use around 30,000 mini LEDs for lighting the screen and have around 2,500 dimming zones.

QNED

Price: $$$$

For Those Who Want: A compromise between QLED and OLED.

Description: QNED (Quantum NanoCell Emitting Diodes) is a combination of NanoCell LCD and Mini LED. This limits blooming and improves contrast ratio and peak brightness. Not as dark blacks as OLED, but better than QLED.

QLED Displays Compared to OLED, Mini-LED, and MicroLED

Section Link
QLED Comparison
LEDQLEDOLEDMini-LEDMicroLED
Viewing Angle Good Good Excellent Excellent Excellent
Black Levels Okay Okay Excellent Very Good Excellent
Color Accuracy Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Burn-in No No Yes No No
Brightness Good Excellent Good Very Good Excellent
Lifespan Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Native Contrast Okay Very Good Excellent Very Good Excellent
Motion Good Good Excellent Very Good Excellent
Light Bleed Yes Yes No Some No
Price $ $$ $$$ $$$$ $$$$$

What Are the Pros and Cons of QLED?

Section Link

For this pros/cons list, we are comparing QLED to all other currently available display types, along with the main features that stand out for QLED displays.

Pros of QLED Cons of QLED
Better color accuracy (TR) Reduced viewing angles (TR)
Higher peak brightness (TR) Lower contrast ratio (TR)
Better HDR (TR) Light bleed (TR)
No screen burn-in (TR) Lower response time (TR)
Longer lifespan (TR)
Thinner & lighter
Larger size options

To know more about each Pro and Con of QLED displays, click the items above.

For a complete list of every question answered in this article, scroll to the top of this page.

Our Samsung QLED TV Recommendations

Section Link

Samsung QN90A QLED (Best)

  • This is an exceptional TV for any use, whether it's for movies, games, sports, or as a PC monitor.

  • It's the "Neo" QLED variant, which has an excellent contrast ratio and deep blacks.

  • This will also work great in a bright room.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has some slight blooming around bright objects. Here's more info about QLED blacklight bleed (TR). Despite that, this is one of the best QLED TVs you can buy.

  • The Samsung QN90A QLED also supports low input lag, variable refresh rate, and fast response time, all of which are needed for gaming.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung QN90A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung QN90A QLED Samsung QN90A QLED Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Samsung QN85A QLED

  • This is another excellent Neo QLED TV variant for any use in bright rooms while having fantastic response time, low input lag, and vivid natural colors.

  • The Samsung QN85A QLED has wide viewing angles and high brightness to overcome screen glare.

  • It's superb for HDR content due to its high brightness and wide color gamut.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has lower contrast compared than the QN90A.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung QN85A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung QN85A Samsung QN85A Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED

  • Great for watching sports or TV shows together with family and friends due to the wide viewing angles while keeping accurate colors.

  • It's also quick enough for gaming and great for using as a PC monitor.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has lower contrast compared to the QN90A and lower local dimming compared to both TVs mentioned above.

  • This TV also has high brightness for HDR along with wide viewing angles.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung Q80A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung Q80A QLED Samsung Q80A QLED Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

How Bright Are QLED Displays?

Section Link

Most QLED TVs produce 1,000 to 2,000 nits of brightness and are capable of reaching 4,000 nits. To compare, most other TVs usually don't reach 1,000 nits of brightness.

If you don't know what a Nit is, it's a measurement of the amount of light a TV produces within an area. The higher the Nit, the brighter your TV will be able to emit.

Brightness Levels
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Good
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

Are QLED Displays Good in Bright Rooms?

QLED displays can commonly reach the recommended brightness levels for use in bright rooms, making this a great display for this situation.

It's best to have around 1,500 nits of brightness for displays in direct sunlight indoors, and QLED can reach up to 4,000 nits.

QLED Brightness and Color Volume Comparison QLED Brightness and Color Volume Comparison Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Do QLED Displays Have a Backlight?

Section Link

As of 2021, QLEDs on the market use a LED backlight to emit light, the same as other LED TVs (TR).

QLED originally meant that the quantum dots emit light by themselves (self-emitting), but Samsung began its QLED TV line using widely-used LED backlights instead to make them more cost-effective.

Self-emissive QLED displays (also known as QD-OLED or True QLED) are still in development, with prototypes being released as of June 2021.

Do QLED Displays Get Backlight Bleed?

Section Link

QLED displays suffer from backlight bleeding caused by QLEDs using an LED backlight that emits the light.

Backlight bleeding in QLEDs has decreased with technology improving over time, but it's still noticeable in darker scenes. Blacklight bleeding results in blacks turning into more of a darker gray instead.

Blacklight bleed is also known as blooming or halo effect. The white text needs bright light to be visible, while the dark scenes don't need any light. The bright light spills over in the dark areas, which is why you'll get the haloing effect and ghosting with motion.

Backlight bleeding is more noticeable with white text on top of black scenes or similar.

Light Bleed
LED Yes
QLED Yes
OLED No
Mini-LED Some
MicroLED No

Learn more in Do LED TVs Have Backlight Bleed? (TR)

Do QLED Displays Have a High Refresh Rate?

Section Link

The refresh rate of QLED displays is usually 120 Hz but can reach higher in newer models, which is fast enough for most cases.

Refresh rate is the number of times the display can redraw the screen. Refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz), which is defined as one cycle per second. For example, 60 Hz would refresh the screen 60 times a second. A reasonable refresh rate is anywhere from 144 Hz to 240 Hz and above.

Do QLED Displays Have a Low Response Time?

Section Link

Samsung QLED TVs have a response time of around 3-6 ms for 80% of color transition and 9-17 ms for the remaining color. It's best to have 6 ms or less response time for displays.

Response time is the time it takes a display to change from one color to another. The timing of this is usually determined by going back and forth between white and black. The timing is measured in milliseconds, with lower being better.

The higher response time a display has, the more blurring you'll notice in fast-motion video like sports and video games.

Motion Handling
LED Good
QLED Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

Are QLED Displays Good for Video Games?

Section Link

QLED displays have a good response time and refresh rate for video games, but not the best you can buy. Most people won't notice the difference, but you might be able to spot slight blurring or ghosting in rapid-action scenes like in FPS games.

Displays with low response time and high refresh rate (120+ Hz) are recommended to have the best experience.

Most TVs will have a "Game Mode" option or equivalent, making your display use its highest response time, input latency, and refresh rate.

Keep in mind that your computer or game console must handle a high refresh rate to support using a high refresh rate display. PS5 and Xbox Series X/S both support a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Do QLED Displays Get Screen Burn-In?

Section Link

QLED displays are resistant to screen burn-in. Samsung QLED TVs are guaranteed against TV burn-in for ten years. So you can use your QLED worry-free from that risk.

Burn-in Risk
Burn-in
LED No
QLED No
OLED Yes
Mini-LED No
MicroLED No

Example of Screen Burn-in Example of Screen Burn-in Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Do QLED Displays Have Good Viewing Angles?

Section Link

QLED displays are known to have narrow viewing angles when compared to other displays like OLED TVs (TR). Viewing angles of QLED displays can vary, with newer models having wider viewing angles.

QLED TVs have an average viewing angle of around 20-40 degrees from the center, with the center meaning that you're directly in front of the screen. You'll notice more washed-out blacks and colors along with brightness loss starting at lesser angles (10-20 degrees) then increase as you get farther away from the center.

The narrow viewing angle is due to the use of a backlight projecting through the LCD. Like viewing a bedroom light from outside of a house, the light is most visible from certain angles.

If you want more flexibility in your viewing position, you'll probably want to go for something like an OLED TV (TR), which doesn't use a backlight.

Viewing Angle
LED Good
QLED Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Excellent
MicroLED Excellent

Do QLED Displays Have True Black?

Section Link

QLED displays do not have true black levels. Scenes of space, dark indoor shots, or credits will appear more dark gray than pitch black. Lacking true blacks is due to the use of LED backlighting in the display.

Black Levels
LED Okay
QLED Okay
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

Do QLED Displays Have Good Color Accuracy?

Section Link

QLED displays are known for great color accuracy and vibrance. On average, Samsung QLED TVs have a 73-90% color volume and 84-94% color gamut.

Color Volume: How many colors a TV can display at different luminosity (brightness) levels.

Color Gamut: How many colors the display is capable of showing.

Color Accuracy
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Very Good
Mini-LED Excellent
MicroLED Excellent

Samsung QLED TVs are advertised to be 100% color volume despite the fact they don't reach those levels. You probably won't know the difference because QLEDs still have great color.

QLED displays appear to have a warmer tone than other display types because the red and orange quantum dots are larger in diameter than blue and green, as seen in the graphic below.

Color of Light Depends on Size of Quantum Dot Color of Light Depends on Size of Quantum Dot Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

You can adjust the color temperature in the display settings if you prefer a less warm tone, but overall QLED displays have accurate colors with their out-of-box settings.

Other display types appear to have a blue tone overall since they have less color range in their spectrum compared to QLED displays.

QLED displays also support more colors overall, which allows them to have smoother gradients and more accurate colors.

Color Spectrum of QLED Color Spectrum of QLED Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Do QLED Displays Have HDR?

Section Link

Yes, QLED displays support HDR (high dynamic range). Samsung QLED displays have high color volume, good contrast ratio, and 1,000+ nits of brightness, all of which are recommended for HDR.

Native Contrast
LED Okay
QLED Very Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

Having HDR will result in a picture with brighter brights, darker darks, more accurate/natural colors, and a sharper image.

QLEDs have a worse contrast ratio compared to OLED TVs (TR), but still enough for HDR. The "Neo QLED" variant has an improved contrast ratio.

The easiest way to know if a display supports 4K HDR is to look for the "ULTRA HD PREMIUM" logo, which is issued for products that meet the performance levels for HDR, 4K resolution, and extended color spectrum.

How Long Do Samsung QLED TVs Last?

Section Link

Samsung QLED TVs are expected to last an average of 8 to 10 years with heavy use or between 70,000 and 100,000 hours of use. Most people don't use their TV all day, every day, so you can expect it to last even longer.

Samsung's QLED TVs will likely last up to 10 years or more for most people.

The main risk of a TV's lifespan, in general, is the other components within the display. Capacitors, power supply boards, or other parts have the chance of failure before the QLED panel does, but for most people, their TVs will last up to the expected life expectancy.

To compare, OLED TVs (TR) typically last up to around 6 to 8 years of heavy use but have the chance of experiencing less peak brightness and faded colors over time. With QLED, you likely won't be having these issues.

Standard LED TVs (TR) last an average of 5 to 7 years.

Average Lifespan
Lifespan
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Very Good
Mini-LED Excellent
MicroLED Excellent